Top miler Duke Of Hazzard ‘thriving’ as Paul Cole readies him for next month’s Queen Anne at Royal Ascot


PAUL Cole is hoping for a right Royal knees up with the classy Duke Of Hazzard.

The top miler ended 2019 with a hat-trick of wins and is among the leading fancies for the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot on 16 June.

Duke Of Hazzard is being aimed at the Queen Anne

The four-year-old is a 14-1 poke with Coral for the big race, which is the first of eight Group 1s at the five-day carnival.

And his former champion trainer reckons he has never had him in better shape.

Cole told Sun Racing: “We are having a bit of a job keeping the weight off him – he is absolutely thriving at the moment.

“The plan was to run in the Lockinge, which sadly we lost, so he will now go straight for the Queen Anne and he will be 100% when he gets there. 

“He is a cracking little horse and he is in great form. It’s still nerve-racking when you have a nice one that everything goes smoothly between now and then.”

The son of Lope De Vega had smart form as a juvenile, but Cole feared he would not fulfil his potential after a mixed start to his three-year-old campaign.

But the horse turned a corner last summer following the discovery of an infected hoof, rounding off a fine run of form with success in the Group 2 Celebration Mile.

Cole said: “He started his season OK, he was fifth in the French Guineas, but we were never entirely happy with him. You start to worry they’re not as good as you thought.

“He then pulled his shoe off at Haydock, which was lucky in a sense, as that exposed a seedy toe, which was basically an air pocket filled with bacteria. 

“We cleaned that out, patched him and put the blinkers on him, as he had learned to pull himself up a little bit, and after that he changed his tune. 

“It was never a question of him not being genuine, he was just feeling the pain, especially when you were asking him to let down on fast ground.

“He was still feeling it a bit at Ascot in the Jersey Stakes last year. Stop the race two out and you’re thinking it’s a question of how far, but then he just backed off.

“His form took off after that, thankfully. He has a great ability to get himself out of trouble because he has a seriously good turn of foot. We are very fond of him.”

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